Contraception Debate 

Leaders voted 5-4 Thursday against allowing Republican Senator Doug Smith of Dover-Foxcroft to introduce his bill.

It was prompted by action last fall by the Portland School Committee allowing King Middle School to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches.

Students need parents’ permission to use the school’s health center, but treatment is confidential under state law.

Thursday’s Legislative Council vote followed party lines, with Republicans voting to let Smith’s bill in and Democrats blocking it.